Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday Review: When Hellion Mistakes One Book For Another Author

Here’s an accident every writer and publisher wants to have happen. I bought a book thinking it was the next in a series written by someone else.

This is humorous really because I’m usually a bit better with names; however, the cover looked right, the premise sounded a bit similar, the first page or so of writing seemed intense, fast, and humorous like the other book. It must be the same person. I bought the book and read it: AN AFFAIR WITH MR. KENNEDY.

About five pages or so into the book, I became a little confuzzled. Why? Because when I looked at the author’s blurb, it said this was her debut novel. I said to myself, “No, it isn’t! She wrote that Smith book! I know she did! It’s why I bought this book!” Still, it niggled and finally I went in pursuit of the original book on my shelves and realized I am a bit of an idiot. Like a total and complete idiot. The author names weren’t even remotely the same. I’m surprised they were both female names honestly.

AN AFFAIR WITH MR. KENNEDY is by Jillian Stone. It is set in 1887, and it put the HISTORICAL in historical romance. The detail is so rich, it’s not something that can be plucked out of its structure and launched elsewhere. No. The story and the structure are indelibly entwined. But this is not to suggest it’s boring (since I am afraid every time I drone on ad nauseum about the importance of historical accuracy and not wallpapering, this is what everyone’s thinking) because Ms. Stone certainly pushes the envelope of accuracy, possibility, and plausibility.

And before I forget: BEST. MOTHER. EVER. Seriously, I’m not kidding. This book should be read for the secondary character of the heroine’s mother alone. That woman is a piece of work. Absolutely hysterical. Not in a prim horrified Victorian way, but in a free-love, don’t-forget-to-protect-yourself-during-sex-dear kind of way. She’s horrifying.

Our heroine takes her mother in stride though, and she’s not a prim-and-proper missish creature either. She’s daring, but she’s reasonable about it. It feels plausible, as if these characters could have existed at some point.

The story keeps up a rather break-neck pace, but easy to follow and loathe to put down. It’s character-driven AND plot-driven AND tension-driven all rolled up at the same time. I honestly want to hunt down this woman and beg her to write a blog for us, but I couldn’t begin to decide what I’d want her to focus on most.

For those of you a bit leery of the “historical” aspect I’m so thrilled with, it has a bit of the shiny, fun, clever Steampunk elements that show up now and again in the Victorian era. I cannot wait to see what Ms. Stone does next with her books of Scotland Yard and what newfangled machine she will put to the test.

So let’s recap:

Is it historical? YES.

Is it romantic? YES, YES.

Is it sexy? Hells, yes.

Is it fun and edgy? Do bears poop in the woods?

Does it have steampunk for Mo? This woman has everything, man.

Will Q like it? He’d be crazy not to!

Emotional. Sexy. Actiony. And hilarious. What more are you wanting? Free? Well, you can’t have everything. Go buy this woman’s book so she’ll write more. Rafe is up next on the docket and I don’t want anything getting in the way of his debut. Yummo!

Read it, thank me, and then figure out how to learn her brilliance so you can implement her tricks into your story and make it better. We all aspire to be this detailed, emotionally structured, and well-paced. Well done debut, Ms. Stone!

And for full disclosure let me add: I bought my copy (as I said above, when I thought she was someone else!) and it's going on my keeper shelf. No one has compensated me for my unbiased opinion. :) I give it away for free.

Divulge: What's the happiest accident you've found in reading a book? Thought you were reading one novel and found out you were reading something else instead? Thought one thing was going to happen but the author surprised you in a good way? And if those questions don't work for you this Tuesday--what's next on your TBR pile. I could use some suggestions for next week!


Marnee Bailey said...

I am dying to read this book. This one and the next installment of Jessica Andersen's Nightkeepers.

It's been so long since I've just picked up a book because I liked how it looked on the shelf or because I liked the back blurb. The internet makes it so I'm always so well informed. That might be a detriment to new authors, though. Makes it so that without proper promotion, I might not consider them at all.

Huh, hadn't thought of that. :(

Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

I've heard awesome things about this book and I loved your review!

Now though, all I want to know is what is the book you *thought* you were getting? :)

Lately the happiest accidents I've had are finding two new-to-me authors I'm really loving and plowing through their books. First was Cathy Maxwell and then recently Victoria Alexander. Both historical but I'm so happily surprised to be enjoying every single book I pick up from them so far.

TerriOsburn said...

Cathy & Victoria are both amazing writers, Scape. And their backlists will keep you busy for years. LOL!

Hellie mentioned this book to me last week so I had to go look it up. Dudes. That is the COOLEST website. That alone tells me this book is something special. I definitely need to get back to reading more. (Though I just finished Marn's book and WAHOO! is it good.)

Can't remember the last time I was completely surprised by a book. I know I have been, but hell if I can remember. My brain is slow on a good day but it's feeling like mush today.

Amazing review, btw. You get better at this every week. And I do believe I know what author you "thought" you were getting. :)

MsHellion said...

Marn, books have gotten to be a bit like movie trailers haven't they? We don't trust the blurb until we see the review. *LOL*

But hey, it could be worse. No one trusts ANY literary book. It has to be vaunted by Oprah first before the masses will read it. We haven't fallen that far yet. :) I think there are still the majority of people who buy by blurb or cover, but we're in the unique position of knowing many of the authors or having read the books (so we can ask each other's opinions), et al. Our information age has just changed marketing stategies, I think, because now we won't buy JUST because it's shiny. We have to believe it will be revolutionary. That can be a lot to live up to sometimes. :)

MsHellion said...

P.S. I need to get back into the Nightkeepers books. I *loved* those books when the series started and somehow I missed buying a couple or something and got lost in the series, then realized I'd have to start over again and felt overwhelmed. *LOL* But I'm going to because they were fast, entertaining, detailed reads with great characters too. Like Ward books without the gansta dialects. *LOL*

I saw "Rabbit's" book is coming out soon and I freaked out...isn't he young? What has happened? *LOL*

MsHellion said...

Scape, wellll, the book I'd read previously was a book called LORD AND LADY SPY by Shana Galen, and I loved it (with the exception about the cobra bite, which I bitch about nearly as often as I do the Lisa Kleypas "Daisy" fiasco--i.e. things that only bother me!) I thought THIS book was a continuation of a series with it. Which I thought was awesome. I love series. I loved this kind of spy book (basically it doesn't take itself too seriously as some of the spy books do.)

Yeah, Galen's book is a stand alone. *coughs*

BUT this book is the beginning of a series. I'm quite excited--and as Terri said, there's a website to whet the interest! I don't know who did her website (could have been her), but it's impressive!!

MsHellion said...

I agree--Cathy Maxwell and Victoria Alexander are both amazing writers. I love their blend of honest emotion and humor in their stories. I think that the thing they get "most right."

Terri clearly reads the cutting edge reading material--by reading the pre-published manuscripts! :) She doesn't want to read that boring already published stuff. *LOL*

But I agree--I think you should make an exception for this one. :)

Janga said...

I made a note on my book calendar about An Affair wiith Mr. Kennedy when you mentioned it earlier, Hellie. You were more fortunate than I was the last time I confused authors. I hated the book I ended up reading. It's one of two requested ARCS I've ever received that I didn't finish and didn't review.

It's on my recently-read list rather than my TBR, but I loved The Witness by Nora Roberts. It's her 200th book, and I think it's the best RS she's written in years. I found the plot fascinating, and the hero with equal parts Southern charm and stubborn protectiveness is now on my list of favorite Roberts heroes. I'm reading Teresa Grant's Imperial Scandal now. It's historical fiction with mystery and romance added set in Brussels in the days before and during Waterloo. Extraordinarily rich in period detail and including some historical figures, it's a wonderful book. I highly recommend this author's Tracy Grant and Teresa Grant books.

MsHellion said...

Janga, I was very fortunate to have liked it so well. Not saying anything against the author or book in particular at all, only that usually when I make this kind of mistake, it's a rude awakening of "This isn't nearly as good." But in this case, this one was just as good and even better in some aspects, so I was clearly well-pleased.

WOW. La Nora has written 200 books? Do you know how long it's taken me to write 200 checks? Like a LONG time...and they're not nearly as extensive! Amazing!

Definitely putting Teresa Grant/Tracy Grant on my radar to read. Thanks for the recommendations!

quantum said...

Great review Hellie.
I downloaded a sample to glimpse, liked what I saw, so bought the book.

See how I trust your judgement! *grin*

This book actually won the Golden Heart so should give an insight into the quality that I can expect from Terri when I get my hands on HER book.

Gotta prepare myself for the impact! *smile*

I'm getting into La Nora as well now, so must try the 200th if Janga is so impressed. I loved Phoebe in the RS 'High Noon' so reckon I'm in for a treat with 'The Witness'

MsHellion said...

Why thank you, Q! *blushing* And I was thinking the same thing--"She's a GH winner, so it MUST be good!" I hope you like it, but the fun, quirky sciencey stuff within made me think of you several times. It would have been an interesting and exciting time to be alive with that sort of progress. Something new every minute! *LOL*

P. Kirby said...

Chiming in really late, because I did something wacky today and, uh, actually did my job rather than surf the net all morning.

This book sounds cute, especially the mom.

I'm currently reading Swamplandia by Karen Russel. On my TBR pile is Hellbent by Cherie Priest, Old Haunts by E.J. Copperman and The Kraken's Mirror by, I don't know...somebody. ;)

MsHellion said...

P!--I always find it novel when I don't spend the entire work day surfing the internet too. *coughs*

The mom is funny--I kinda wanted her for a mom actually. I love mine and all, but this one was a real corker!

*tapping chin* Gee, WHO is The Kraken's Mirror by? I know I have a note somewhere. *cheeky smile*

irisheyes said...

Another great review, Hellie. I think it's hilarious that you bought the wrong book, though. I'm glad you liked it.

I just finished The Duke's Perfect Wife by Jennifer Ashley and really enjoyed that. As soon as I get a minute to myself I'm going to start About That Night by Julie James. She's always a win for me.

MsHellion said...

Hey Irish! I'm glad I liked it too! I would have been way irked if I hadn't. *LOL* I saw the Ashley book and had heard good things. Glad to hear another good thing from another trusted source! (And I hear lots of good things about Julie James. I must be the only person NOT reading her. I think she's going to be like Julie Ann Long for me--like for years I'll be like, "I don't like her books! I tried to read 3 chapters once and it bored me silly!" and then one day I'll read one book, something with a CEO or something outrageous in it, and boom, I'll be Julie James' biggest disciple.

Gjillian said...

The secret is sneaking in a bit of world building whenever you get the chance. Would be happy to blog on it sometime.

Not sure why Google Alert missed this post, but I must tell you that I have never laughed out loud reading a review (not a good one anyway) as I did with this one. Twice!

So happy you enjoyed!

ShanaGalen said...

I have a feeling you bought this thinking it was my book. But the follow up to Lord and Lady Spy isn't out yet because I'm writing it now!

That said, I loved the cover for AN AFFAIR WITH MR. KENNEDY, bought it, and loved the writing too! I'm happy to be mistaken for Jillian Stone any time.

MsHellion said...

I have been found out! *LOL*

Jillian, I would love to have you blog with us sometime about world building if you have time! (Esp if you can share more about the neat things you've found for your world!!) And I'm so happy you laughed. *grins*

Shana, yes, you caught me. I was so excited for your second book, I thought for sure it was the second one. *LOL* Imagine my chagrin when I saw the names and went, "These names are NOTHING alike." *LOL* I loved both yours and Jillian's books--I can't wait to read what you guys have next!

Elisa Beatty said...

Yup, Jillian Stone is a great discovery to make! Check out the equally awesome SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK!!

Jillian Stone said...


So glad you enjoyed both! :-)


I am always happy to be confused with or mistaken for any one of your wonderfully entertaining historical romances!


Perhaps it was the cover model that did it. Shana Galen and I share the same cover model for her Lord Smythe and my Mr. Kennedy!

I will contact *pirates* about future world building blog & maybe a preview excerpt of A Dangerous Liaison with Detective Lewis?

Again, so glad you enjoyed An Affair with Mr. Kennedy!;)